Swordmaster’s Youngest Son - Chapter 160: Remnants of the Dark Magic Association (1)
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October 22nd, 1796.
Five days had passed since Jin and Enya became followers of the novice magicians. As Chip said, nobody suspected a thing from the newcomers. Surprisingly, the three novices didn’t identify Enya either. The disguise seemed pretty effective, and it was thanks to her face that was always draped by her hood.
‘I guess we’re starting the extermination today.’
For the past five days, the Dark Magic Association didn’t invade the city, not even once.
Thirty-three total academy magicians came to Hosin for their duty. The 3- to 4-star novices made ten three-person groups, and the others were two professional 6-star magicians and a 7-star magician.
Although they were stationed near the forest of the Dark Magic Association’s base, there hadn’t been a single interaction.
Was it perhaps because of that?
The academy magicians thought of the extermination to be very easy. Not a single hint of nervousness and tension could be found in their residential rooms. They looked bored, as if they unhappily came out on a picnic.
They assumed ‘the targets got scared when they saw us’. Since there wasn’t an ambush since their deployment, their assumption wasn’t irrational.
To Jin, they were only arrogant children.
‘About fifty enemies are hidden in that forest, but they’re like this. Even though they know it’s just herding them up, this is too much.’
It was a mess.
‘This isn’t good. Although there hasn’t been a single ambush since they came, there aren’t any signs of their escape. The remaining Dark Magic Association members are confident in defeating the academy magicians.’
There wasn’t a single trap at the entrance of the forest. They were waiting for the magicians to come find them in their cave hideout.
‘They said that they didn’t deploy in the cave because it’s too dangerous, but in reality, it’s just laziness. Then they’d throw the herding technique, and they want to gossip, relax, and play.’
He understood the novice’s true wants. However, to think that even the professional 6- and 7-stars were acting this way… Jin shook his head, and Maura, Orel, and Chip exchanged glances.
These three novices actually stayed more alert than the others. Since in their case, a Special Forces agent was supervising their every action, they couldn’t act with flaw. Hence, they felt like they were walking on eggshells every second they were with Jin and Enya. From their eyes, they knew that the academy magicians’ strategies and formations were a mess, but they couldn’t even tell anyone that an agent was watching.
“Uh, sir. Are we making some mistake…?”
“No, amongst the thirty-three magicians, just you guys acting normally is the problem. Are academy magician missions usually like this?”
“N-No, it probably isn’t. Though, it’s our first mission, so we don’t know very well…”
“Pack up well before we execute our strategy. Follow the Novice Magician Deployment Mission Rules as listed.”
The novices rushed away, and Enya walked up next to Jin.
“It gets more fascinating as it gets. How are you so thick-skinned? Your acting is just… Wow. You’ll be amazing on stage. You’ll probably become more famous than the Zhan Kingdom’s Daniel Mafrio.”
“That’s a compliment, right?”
“Of course! And you look more handsome than him.”
“Besides that, this subjugation mission will fail, so do not stray away from me when it begins.”
“There are three professional magicians, though. One of them’s a 7-star, at that.”
In Enya’s perspective, who had been in the academy, professional magicians from the academy were treated like gods. In fact, a 7-star would be considered a dragon that roamed the skies.
“Not all 7-stars are the same. All of the events for the past five days happened under his rule, so there’s no answer. He just has high achievements, but no real experience. Very old too. About in the mid-forties.”
“Why is old age a problem?”
“Adults obsessed with success don’t listen to their subordinates. Hence, everyone who approaches him will not satisfy the requirements for his respect.”
If the subjugation begins to fall apart as soon as it starts, Jin would borrow Maura’s, Chip’s, and Orel’s mouths to make some remarks. Since his head was filled with secondary plans to avoid absolute failure.
‘They wouldn’t listen anyways.’
In reality, there wasn’t any loss for Jin. Either way, he sought the Dark Magic Association to practice his overload spells and offer Enya some battle experience. However, he could practice his spells without the association, and Enya could gain visual experience just by watching the magicians fail.
“All the preparations have been made, sir. And the order just came in. After an hour, we will begin our operation at 6PM.”
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The three novices, with their bags packed, informed Jin about the next move. They packed so much that they already had marbles of sweat rolling down their faces.
* * *
* * *
The woods were dark during the evening.
When the sun set, magic lanterns brightened the area here and there, but the tall trees obscured the moonlight, which made the forest ink-dark.
Then, they arrived at the peak. The academy magicians moved in small groups, each with a lantern, as if they were advertising that they were present.
‘In a forest where they don’t know where they’ll encounter the opponents, they decided to use magic lanterns. Are they asking for an ambush? They don’t think about the enemy one bit. This is why the Vermont Magic Academy can’t do anything against the Zipfels.’
Of course, the entire academy wasn’t like this. The Zipfel Clan was just too superior, but the Vermont Empire still had its fair share of famous grand magicians.
The 7-star yawned. It’d be better to see the 7-star fighting for his life than comfortably patrolling the forest. However, he was having the sweet time of his life, executing the little herding operation while acting very arrogantly.
‘Well, to the academy magicians, the remnants of the Dark Magic Association would only look like some street gangsters.’
Jin and Enya were at the end of the line, carrying some luggage.
“We will rest here!”
‘Are you crazy? Here?’
Jin was startled and looked around. Only a few flat rocks could be found, and the surroundings were all thick woods. A place where a sniper could wipe out an entire infantry if they wanted it.
“Novice Magician Chip.”
Chip awkwardly nodded. Since the others could overhear them, Jin and Enya used respectful language, and the novices spoke directly.
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“Please tell them that this isn’t right. There’s a better resting point about thirty minutes from here. Turn left on a rock that’s five minutes from here.”
Jin had participated in some scouting for the past five days. He memorized some good places to take a break.
“It’s an order.”
“Excuse me, Sir Arch!”
Arch, the 6-star co-leader of the party, turned and found Chip.
“What do you need?”
“If we walk for thirty more minutes, there’s a better spot for a break. If we go a bit further there’s a big boulder, and if we go left from there…”
“There’s no need. If you’re worried, then set up a force field and rest.”
“Do you want to get points? Alright, I thought everyone just goofed around during the scouting, but I guess you were still thinking ahead. When we go back, I’ll make sure to give your professor a letter of recommendation.”
At this point, he just wanted to give up. In fact, it wasn’t something he should poke his nose in anyway.
And for those thirty minutes, it felt like everything went smoothly.
From the left side of the group, silhouettes emerged. Two orcs that the enemy tortured to tame.
And because of the torture, their bodies were very small.
The orcs threw their axes and screamed. The professional magicians quickly cast a force field. Simultaneously, the closest novices, Group 2, began to cast another spell. The others raised their wands and got into a battle stance.
Group 2’s icicles pierced the chest and abdomen of the orcs. The orcs rolled in the grass and let out an ear-splitting scream. The professional magicians shook their heads, as if they were tired.
“Orc? What kind of shit…? Arch, take Groups 1, 2, and 3 to find who sent them. If you do, don’t kill them, but bring them to me.”
“Everyone else, we’re relocating.”
Despite having less troops than the enemy, they made an obvious move for diversion and split the group. If three groups left, then twenty-four would be left. With the followers, it’d be over fifty, but the followers would not make a good fight. Arch would also most likely fool around with the novices and rendezvous much later.
About to laugh at the lead magician, Jin stopped to think. Then, he stared at the lead magician.
‘This is very weird… Could it be?’
An inexperienced elite often underestimated their enemy. Even though it was success achieved through bloodline and background, 7-star wasn’t a light achievement. To understand the complex equations for 7-stars, they had to have good brains.
However, the lead magician kept making the worst decisions since day one.
‘I have to think about the possibility of the lead making these decisions on purpose. The 7-star could be a traitor or wants the mission to fail because he hates one of the novices.’
As they lined up once more into formation, Jin asked Maura, Orel, and Chip about the leader, Auten Melson. Until now, he didn’t want to elicit suspicion for his Special Forces status, but he had to know about this.
“Do you novices know anything about Sir Auten? His leading is a little weird.”
“Hmm, no idea. Until a few years ago, he had been going for an established professor position. However, he had always been stuck as an assistant professor because of the Hensirks.”
“He’s probably very annoyed. It’s already miserable being an instructor, but now he’s with fresh novices on a mission.”
“Any other situations?”
“Not off the top of my head. Oh, Sir Auten was eating meat yesterday.”
“What about that?”
“Oh, that. He’s known to be a strict vegan. To my knowledge, that is.”
To Chip’s answer, Maura and Orel nodded.
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Three hours later, Jin, Enya, and the magicians encountered a large stone cave created with the use of earth magic.
The main hideout of the Dark Magic Association.
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